After catching some of 17-year-old Jared Donaldson in qualies, I was quite excited to take in his main draw match against Rajeev Ram. Although he showed the same promise I had seen in terms of shotmaking, he had an unfortunate temper tantrum that didn’t help his cause.
It was a tight three-setter, and Donaldson probably could’ve taken advantage of several opportunities, but he found himself serving down match point. His first serve appeared well long, and the linesperson called it out. Donaldson began to (pointlessly) argue with the chair umpire. He went on to lose the point and the match, but the argument continued, and Donaldson refused to shake the chair umpire’s hand. At that point, Rajeev Ram somehow got involved with the discussion, and informed Donaldson that the serve was very long. It was a tense scene to end the match.
Despite the way that match ended, I am looking forward to seeing more of Donaldson in the future. It’s easy to forget how young he is, given the maturity of his game.
A more well-known prospect, Taylor Townsend, was able to come back and win a tough three-setter against the erratic Julia Goerges. Goerges has been a train wreck lately, but it was still a good performance from Townsend.
At least Goerges’ outfit was nice?
In front of a listless Stadium Court crowd, Madison Keys went down to Kurumi Nara, who got too many balls back in play for the hard-hitting, error-prone Keys. A man tried his best to start a Keys chant, to no avail. “When I say ‘M,’ you say ‘adison!'” It was all a bit sad.
I watched Sam Groth’s loss to Dudi Sela, who has been playing some great tennis lately. Also taking in the match: an extremely bored-looking Stefan Kozlov
Lucky loser Groth, squandering break points, and broken while serving for the first set, couldn’t seem to capitalize on anything.
He did, however, have perfect form in demolishing his racquet.
Next up, in the “thank God this wasn’t televised to a global audience” category, Denis Istomin defeated Bernard Tomic in an absolute snoozer. Both guys were just pushing the ball back and forth, seemingly trying to lull each other into complete submission. They managed to stay awake, but I certainly wanted to take a nap in the stands.
Bernie totally cared, though, just for the record.
On my way to a Radek Stepanek-Malek Jaziri thriller, I overheard a fun conversation. One man was cheering for “Radek,” and another man, thinking he was cheering for “Roddick,” said, “I thought he retired.” By the time the changeover was there, the second man became excited, convinced he was en route to see Andy Roddick. Poor guy.
My favorite part of the match was when the Rafael Nadal look-alike chair umpire gave one of the players a time violation. It felt like inception.
In second round action, Sorana Cirstea went out in three sets to Bojana Jovanovski, who perhaps possesses the most ridiculous (and selective) grunt/wail on either tour. It was like going to the symphony, if the symphony consisted of various two or three-syllable wails.
Both women were crushing the ball, which was especially startling after seeing the lull of Tomic-Istomin.
I caught a bit of the odd couple Sam Groth and Leander Paes playing doubles, beating Jeremy Chardy and Robert Lindstedt.
Later on, Richard Gasquet, who hasn’t done much since making the US Open semis last year, ended Sela’s run with little difficulty. Gasquet’s backhand is always a treat to see live, and he and Sela produced some gorgeous one-handed backhand rallies.
Surprise Australian Open finalists Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen went out to a sharp-looking team of Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, mostly because they couldn’t convert one of the million break points they earned. I was surprised, too, but Querrey and Johnson were surprisingly adept in doubles tactics for some of the longer rallies.
They also seemed to be enjoying it, Steve Johnson no doubt thrilled with his earlier efforts in beating last year’s finalist, John Isner, on the same court.